Defra closed its consultation on the draft revised Air Quality Strategy on the 21st April, after opening on the 11th April. Comments received in the consultation will be used to to help inform the final Air Quality Strategy due to be published later this year.
The Air Quality Strategy sets out the actions the government expects local authorities to take in support of achieving their long-term air quality goals, including the new PM2.5 targets.
The IAQM has responded to the consultation but due to the short turnaround time for responses was not able to open to member comments.
A summary of the key comments in the response are:
- Defra commits in writing to re-issuing the strategy once it is clearer the changes to the planning system and other regimes mentioned in the DAQS.
- Defra commits to a regular and more frequent review of the AQ strategy, ideally at least every 3 years and in any case no later than 2028 (after the interim PM2.5 target date expires) and that this review is subject to a reasonable consultation period.
- Consultation should be along the same lines as other Government consultations (at least two months) and not 10 days over a holiday period.
- The use of the word ‘ambitious’ should be removed in relation to the PM2.5 concentration target.
- Make consideration of PM2.5 in annual status reports and the requirement to produce local air quality strategies for all pollutants set out in Annex 1 of the DAQS, a statutory duty for local authorities.
- Removal of the reference to the exposure reduction target being a novel approach